Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Johnny Lee with Lane Brody, “The Yellow Rose”

“The Yellow Rose”

Johnny Lee with Lane Brody

Written by Lane Brody, Johnny Lee, and John Wilder

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

March 23, 1984


#1 (1 week)

April 21, 1984

This chart topper is courtesy of network television.

“The Yellow Rose” retains the melody of the traditional folk song “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” but the lyrics are completely new.  It served as the theme song for The Yellow Rose, a primetime soap opera that ran for one season.  

We get brief character sketches that give listeners (and viewers) a general gist of the show’s storyline. I don’t know if the show did more to make these characters compelling, but the lyric has all the depth of an eighties coffee commercial jingle.  

It was the eighties, man.  Our television intros and coffee commercials had long, catchy songs, y’all. 

Johnny Lee and Lane Brody give spirited performances.  You know, the kind meant to reel you in and keep you from changing the channel.  But unlike “Good Ol’ Boys” and “XXX’s and OOO’s,” this one doesn’t rise above its station.  It is what it is: a television theme song that got a ton of radio play. 

“The Yellow Rose” gets a C

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. It is what it is: a television theme song that got a ton of radio play.

    That explains so, so much. There are just not enough nachos for all that cheese.

    I remember hearing Ernest Tubb’s rendition of the folk song of the same name one day and thinking, ”this is so much better.”

  2. I have always loved the feel-good jolt of energy this “spirited” and bright performance provides me. It works as a caffeinated country music. For me, it slots right in alongside “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma.”

    As with that performance, I think Johnny Lee and Lane Brody carry all the light-duty vocal work with genuine sincerity and appropriate enthusiasm.

    I can’t explain why it’s obvious limitations and shortcomings don’t diminish its appeal to me.

    Maybe we could free Sufjan Stevens of his creative burden and have cheesy songs like this song about every state in the union instead?

    Illinois, Michigan Oklahoma, and Texas are already off the list.

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